Magazine article Insight on the News

The Single and Celibate. (Culture)

Magazine article Insight on the News

The Single and Celibate. (Culture)

Article excerpt

According to Elizabeth Abbott, dean of women at Trinity College at the University of Toronto and author of A History of Celibacy, most people consider abstinence a sad, unnatural and lonely life, the preserve of priests, nuns, spinsters and prisoners. Yet the number of single Americans continues to grow, and celibate individuals can live a fulfilling existence, she argues. Indeed, more of America's 82 million singles are opting for the nonpaired life.

"I've seen a great outpouring from women on this topic," says Abbott, a divorced woman in her 50s and the mother of a son. "A ton of women out there are celibate, and they are not that old, either."

Abbott has been surprised by the number of men who call in to radio talk shows when she's been the featured guest. "Women tend not to be as embarrassed to admit they are celibate," she says. "But men, even the young ones, phone up and talk about it. They found going from one person to another was exhausting and they didn't see the value in it."

Celibacy and virginity never will be major trends, Abbott admits. The statistical average age for first-time sex is 17 for girls and 16 for boys. Nineteen percent of teens between 13 and 15 are sexually active, Abbott says. …

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